SAP creates AI guidelines, appoints expert panel


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SAP has become the first European technology company to create an external artificial intelligence (AI) ethics advisory panel, with representatives from academia, politics and industry.

The panel will ensure the adoption of the new AI guiding principles also announced by the vendor in collaboration with the AI steering committee at SAP, a group of SAP executives from development, strategy and human resources.

“SAP considers the ethical use of data a core value,” said Luka Mucic, chief financial officer and member of the Executive Board of SAP SE. “We want to create software that enables the intelligent enterprise and actually improves people’s lives. Such principles will serve as the basis to make AI a technology that augments human talent.”

SAP’s guiding principles highlight core values around transparency, integrity, quality and safety in the use of AI. The principles also support SAP’s stance on data protection and privacy.

Five members of the advisory panel have been confirmed, including:

  • Dr theol. Peter Dabrock, chair of Systematic Theology (Ethics), University of Erlangen-Nuernberg
  • Dr Henning Kagermann, chairman, acatechBoard of Trustees; acatech senator
  • Susan Liautaud, Lecturer in Public Policy and Law, Stanford; and founder and managing director, Susan Liautaud & Associates Limited (SLAL)
  • Dr Helen Nissenbaum, professor, Cornell Tech Information Science
  • Nicholas Wright, consultant, Intelligent Biology; affiliated scholar, Pellegrino Center for Clinical Bioethics Georgetown University Medical Center; Honorary Research Associate, Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, University College London.

“AI offers immense opportunities, but it also raises unprecedented and often unpredictable ethics challenges for society and humanity,” said Liautaud. “The AI ethics advisory panel allows us to ensure an ethical AI, which serves humanity and benefits society.”

SAP is also playing a part in Europe’s debate on AI, with the European Commission appointing Markus Noga, senior vice president, machine learning, SAP to its high-level expert group on AI, charged with designing European AI strategy and ethical guidelines by early 2019.

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